Grey way to start

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

It was the Grey Cup in reverse, almost to the final score.

The B.C. Lions beat the Argos 27-20 last night at the Rogers Centre in a rematch of last year's CFL championship, which Toronto won 27-19 in Ottawa.

The Lions self-destructed in the Grey Cup and last night, it was the Argos who made too many mistakes -- in all phases of the game.

It ruined what otherwise was a significant opening in front of a crowd of 30,712, the largest home opener for the Argos since 1992.

Toronto pecked away from an 18-6 halftime deficit and eventually took a 20-19 lead at 8:31 of the fourth quarter on a 45-yard field goal by Noel Prefontaine, one of three on the night.

The Lions roared back, though.

They marched 89 yards on 15 plays, the last a one-yard run by Antonio Warren, to go ahead with 1:12 remaining in the game and added to their lead with a two-point convert.

The Argos made it exciting for their fans with a thrilling finish. Bashir Levingston took the kickoff and thought he returned it 90 yards for a touchdown, but the officials ruled he stepped out of bounds at Toronto's 50-yard line.

Toronto marched as close as B.C.'s 17-yard line and came tantalizingly close to a touchdown when Damon Allen, who had slight swelling in his non-throwing hand, just missed connecting with Arland Bruce deep in the end zone.

On the next play, Allen fumbled when hit by Chris Wilson and the Lions ran out the clock on two plays.

"It was one of those good games for the fans -- the comeback and the flow of the game," Argos head coach Pinball Clemons said. "Unfortunately, on our side we prefer winning over a good football game. An ugly win is better than a pretty loss any day."

Receiver R. Jay Soward had the Argos' lone touchdown on a 21-yard catch, and Clemons felt his team's inability to generate more touchdowns in the scoring zone contributed to the loss.

Bruce, who had the win knocked out of him early in the game when hit hard after making a splendid catch, said he simply couldn't get his hands on Allen's pass late in the game despite laying out for it.

"We felt good as soon as we got the ball back in our possession," Bruce said. "We were focused on getting in the end zone all the time."

Argos defensive end Eric England, who had one of six sacks by his team, lamented the fact the defence couldn't "shut the door" on the Lions' winning touchdown drive. He blamed himself for a couple penalties on the drive, including an off-side.

"I can't do that, especially in crucial situations," he said. "If we wouldn't have had that penalty, we could have got off the field and everything would have been hunky-dory.

"Instead, it's a sombre mood in here ... the first (game), you really kind of want to get going and do your best."


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